Program photograph

Morocco ~
Imperial Cities to the Sahara

March 30-April 12, 2013
Faculty: Majida Bargach, French Professor, Program Director of “U.Va. in Morocco” summer study abroad and Interim Director of the Center for International Studies.
 
Price: $4,595 per person, double occupancy, land only

$5,649 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from New York
(Other departure cities are available.)

Approximately $1,595 single supplement
registration

Registration is Open

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Overview

Morocco—a land of dramatic contrasts—invites with its ancient ruins, sacred mosques, lush desert oases, imposing Kasbahs, spirited souks, and villages where life proceeds much as it has for centuries. Visit six UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Meknes, Morocco's youngest imperial city; Volubulis, with its ancient Roman ruins; and Fez, prized for its cultural, religious, and educational institutions. Take time to enjoy mint tea in the home of a local Berber family. Follow a fabled ancient caravan route in the snow-topped High Atlas Mountains, see spectacular Todra Gorge and travel to the fortified city of Ait ben-Haddou. Spend three nights in alluring Marrakech, with a visit to the fabled Djemaa el Fna square with its snake charmers, spice sellers and story tellers, before concluding in storied Casablanca.

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Program Highlights

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Accommodations

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Meals

31 meals: 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 11 dinners

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Faculty

Majida Bargach, French Professor, Program Director of “U.Va. in Morocco” summer study abroad and Interim Director of the Center for International Studies.

Majida teaches in the French Department courses on immigration, North African literature, Moroccan cultures, 19th and 20th century literature and religion in France. Majida began the U.Va. in Morocco course 10 years ago which takes 25 students each summer to spend six weeks in Morocco. She was born in Casablanca, where her father served as the first mayor after the small North African country achieved independence in 1956. The youngest of eight children, she grew up in a multicultural household in the capital city of Rabat. Bargach was educated at the University of Bordeaux – Montesquieu where she earned an undergraduate degree in law and economics, and studied political science as a graduate student. She is currently a Fellow of Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies working on American Public Diplomacy in North Africa. She has been awarded many times including: Mead honored faculty in 2007, the Study Abroad Teaching Award in 2009 and the Seven Society faculty award in 2010.

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Itinerary

Day 1
Depart U.S. for Casablanca, Morocco

Day 2
Casablanca/Rabat
After arriving in Casa¬blanca, the commercial center of Morocco (and of all North Africa), we travel to Rabat, where we check in at our hotel near famed Hassan Tower. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant in Rabat's Old Town. L,D

Day 3
Rabat
One of Morocco's four ancient capitals, or imperial cities, Rabat is again the ¬coun¬try's capital, at once historic and contemporary as we discover on today's tour. We visit the fortified Kasbah of the Oudaias, the peaceful Andalusian Gardens, and the necropolis of Chellah, built on ancient Roman ruins. Then we cross the river to Sale for lunch at a local restaurant followed by a visit to Rabat's Archeological Museum and a walk through the medina. Late afternoon we return to our hotel, where we enjoy dinner tonight. B,L,D

Day 4
Rabat/Meknes/Volubilis/Fez
This morning we depart Rabat for Fez, stopping along the way in Meknes, Morocco's youngest imperial city (and UNESCO World Heritage site). We visit the Bab el Mansour gateway and the ruins of the imperial stables before lunch in a local restaurant. Then we continue on to the ancient Roman ruins at the UNESCO site of Volubilis, known for its intricate and colorful mosaics; and at the holy town of Moulay Idriss. Late afternoon we reach Fez and our elegant hotel adjacent to the medina (old city), another UNESCO World Heritage site. B,L,D

Day 5
Fez
Today we explore Morocco’s oldest imperial city, considered the “Athens of Africa” for its wealth of cultural, educational, and religious institutions. We begin with a walking tour of Fez’s fascinating medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, focusing on the artisans’ quarters, the 14th-century Koranic schools, and Al Karaouine, the medieval theological university. We return to the hotel for lunch and some time at leisure then mid-afternoon tour the old mellah (Jewish quarter) and its 17th-cen­tury synagogue, the royal gates, and the Museum of Fez. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at an intimate family-run riad, La Maison Bleue. B,L,D

Day 6
Fez
This morning we visit a Berber village where residents live much as their ancestors did centuries ago. We share tea with a local family in their cave dwelling then continue on to whitewashed Sefrou, an old Jewish town at the foot of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Returning to Fez, we stop at the renowned pottery factories. The remainder of the afternoon is free for independent exploration. B,D

Day 7
Fez/Midelt/Erfoud
Traveling inland today, we cross the fertile plains beyond Fez and continue through the Middle Atlas mountain range. We stop in the small town of Midelt for lunch. Continuing on we cross the Ziz River, passing rows of sky-scraping palm trees and fortified villages before reaching our kasbah-style hotel in Erfoud late in the day. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 8
Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga
This morning we visit the city of Rissani, with its 18th-century ksar, a virtually impenetrable warren of alleys; then continue on to the ruins of Sijilmasa. We enjoy a tour highlight this afternoon as we set out on a sunset excursion to the breathtakingly beautiful sand dunes at Merzouga on the edge of the Sahara. In the enormous silence we watch the sun set over the desert as we take a camel ride along the dunes. B,D

Day 9
Erfoud/Tinehir/Todra Gorges/Ouarzazate
Our destination today is in the snow-topped High Atlas. The day features one beautiful scene after another, including the village of Tinehir, a stunning mountain oasis rising on a series of riverside ter­races lush with palm trees; and the spectacular 984-foot Todra Gorge, home to a variety of rare bird and plant species. Follow­ing lunch here we visit El Kelaa des Mgouna, known for its roses, then set out on the fabled “Route of a Thou­sand Kasbahs” ancient caravan route, a region of fortresses with elaborately decorated façades. Late afternoon we reach the town of Ouarzazate (the “door of the desert”) where we spend the night. B,L,D

Day 10
Ouarzazate/Ait ben-Haddou/Marrakech
En route to Marrakech today, we stop first at uninhab­ited Ait ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of southern Morocco’s most scenic villages that is often used as a location for fashion and film shoots. Its old section consists of deep red kasbahs packed together so tightly they appear to be a single unit. Then as we begin our descent from the High Atlas, we pass through typical villages with fortified walls and stone houses with earthen roofs. In Tizi N’Tichka, we traverse the Pass of the Pastures (alt. 7,415 feet), where life is much as it was centuries ago: shepherds bring their flocks to the high pastures every summer, then return with them to their villages in autumn. We arrive in Marrakech late this afternoon and dine tonight at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 11
Marrakech
Once the capital of southern Morocco, the imperial city of Marrakech is an allur­ing oasis with a temperate climate, distinct charm, and fascinating sights. Our day-long tour includes the beautifully proportioned Koutoubia Mosque with its distinctive 282-foot minaret visible from miles away; the lovely Andalusian-style El Bahia Palace (part of which is still used by the royal family); and the ruins of 16th-century Palais El Badii. After lunch at our hotel, mid-afternoon we embark on a walk­ing tour of the medina, ending at Djemaa el Fna Squ­are, a UNESCO site and the heart of Marrakech, crowded with snake charm­ers, ­entertainers, story­tellers, musicians, barbers, and sellers of fruit, water, and spices. Dinner tonight is on our own in this exotic city. B,L

Day 12
Marrakech
This morning we travel by horse-drawn carriage from Menara Park to Majorelle Gardens, a private botanical garden with some 15 species of birds native to North Africa and known for its cobalt blue accents. Following a tour of the gardens we'll visit the newly renovated Berber Museum, located on the grounds of Majorelle Gardens. The afternoon is at leisure before dinner tonight at a local restaurant in the city’s Old Town. B,D

Day 13
Marrakech/Casablanca
We leave Marra­kech this morning by coach for storied Casablanca, Morocco’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Highlights of this afternoon’s city tour include the harbor area and central market, the Royal Palace, Habous Quarter (“New Medina”), and the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, Morocco’s only functioning mosque open to non-Muslims. Tonight we celebrate our Moroccan adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 14
Depart for U.S.
After breakfast this morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S. B

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Program Fees

$4,595 per person, double occupancy, land only.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1,595 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price Includes:

Does Not Include:

$5,649 per person from New York, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare. (Approximately $5,924 total price per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from Charlottesville including airline taxes & departure fees)

In addition to the inclusions noted in the land-only pricing, air-inclusive price includes:

Does not include:

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail cavaliertravels@virginia.edu with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately three months prior to departure. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure.

Deposits can be made via check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express)

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (December 25, 2012) before departure.

Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare when purchasing a land only package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per day, per traveler); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly you’re your airline prior to departure.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these sup-pliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we re-serve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alter-native accommodations of the same or better quality. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in good health to participate in this Odysseys Unlimited tour. This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain. You must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

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